BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Parents, educators, and industry officials are talking about the future of career training for Mississippi students, and they’re hoping to have your input, as well.
On Monday, a group gathered at Biloxi Library to weigh in on Perkins V, a new law that goes into effect next year. The meeting was just one of several meetings being held around the state, all aimed at providing the best opportunities and career training to high school students.
“We’re here tonight to receive some input from the coastal communities on career and technical education in regards to Perkins V legislation, which is our federal law that determines how we use our federal funds," said Dr. Tom Wallace, the department of education’s CTE director. "We want to use this stakeholder information tonight to drive how we frame out our new plan that we have to submit.”
Aside from informing people about Perkins V, the Mississippi Succeeds Career and Technical Education Listening Tour is hearing from the public on ways to use the federal funding to strengthen career and technical education in the state. One of the ways they are getting that feedback is by asking people to fill out a survey on how the funding can best be used.
“When (the survey) goes around the state, we actually feel like we have some input on what’s going forward,” said Derek Reed, a CTE counselor in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District. “It’s more teachers and administration-driven rather than a document coming down from the powers that be and you feeling like you didn’t have an input in it.”
CTE programs are designed to prepare students for the workforce, offering programs in areas like culinary arts, welding, auto mechanics, nursing, and more. They are programs that are beneficial to both the students and to future employers.
“It’s just really good for the public to get to know exactly what career tech can do and exactly what Perkins V means for the state,” said Dr. Misty Spencer, director of Biloxi High’s Career Tech Center. “My students in my center, their graduations rates are higher, their test scores are higher, and on average, their ACT scores are higher.”
The law, which goes into effect July 1, 2019, reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act of 2006. With Perkins V, state are expected to see more autonomy and flexibility when administering CTE programs. Perkins V is also expected to help students advance more efficiently through career training programs, as well as create opportunities and access for historically under served students in rural and low-income areas.
To weigh in with your own suggestions on Perkins V funding, fill out the survey HERE. The Perkins V Public Listening Tour will also be making stops in other cities across the state, including Tupelo, Hernando, Pearl, Greenwood, Columbus and McComb.
For more information about career and technical programs offered in Mississippi public schools, visit the Advance CTE website HERE.